13 October 2022: Travel news; Controversial developments; Ms Truss; Her talkative predecessor; Vigo lights; & Other stuff

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Awake! For, Morning, in the Bowl of Night, has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight
And, Lo, has caught the Sultan’s Turret in a Noose of Light

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable
Christopher Howse: ‘A Pilgrim in Spain’

Travel News

Well, I certainly chose a good time – 11.15 – to visit the castle in Olite. There were very few inside it when I entered but lots of folk by the time I left it 45 minutes later, including the inevitable guided groups blocking the narrow passageways. And there were veritable hordes at the entrance waiting even to buy tickets. 

The castle certainly lived up to its billing but the most accurate bit in the text I posted yesterday was the reference to the numerous spiral staircases. Doing justice to the turrets demands good health. Or at least good legs.

It being a national holiday, Olite was a lot less serene yesterday than it had been when we arrived on Tuesday evening. Bloody sightseers!

Off to Pamplona today.

Cosas de España/Galicia

The Guardian tells us here about a Spanish Civil War virtual museum, which doubtless won’t be much liked by many right-of-centre folk.

Talking of which . . . There’s no fascist like an old fascist.

Still on things controversial . . . Here’s what you need to know about the effects of the New Democratic Memory law. See below if the link doesn’t work.

The Galician city of Vigo is famous for its lavish Christmas decorations. Despite the emphasis on saving energy, things won’t change this year, says the mayor. 

The UK

Well, at least one person supports what he thinks Ms Truss is trying to do: Our zombie economy is crumbling and the real culprits are getting off scot-free.Truss is being blamed for the collapse of the debt-fuelled Jenga society that she was trying to replace. Full article here

The Way of the World

Boris Johnson received a standing ovation after his first speech on the lucrative US lecture circuit to an audience of several hundred insurance brokers. The former prime minister is thought to have been paid more than 150,000 dollars for the 30-minute speech and a 45-minute “fireside chat” on stage with a senior insurance broker. An interesting article on his approach to money.

Some well-deserved praise for J K Rowling

Would  you believe . . .? 

A 19th century pair of Levi’s jeans discovered in an abandoned mine shaft in the USA have sold for $87,000. The market for “true vintage” clothing — referring to garments dating back to at least the 1970s — has ballooned in recent years, with young people seeking clothes that are not found at normal second-hand shops.

Finally   . . . .   

I tried very hard this year to avoid moth-holes in my woollen sweaters – freezing them for weeks and then putting them in a sealed plastic container over the summer. Didn’t work. Taking one out before I came away, I noticed a large-ish hole in a cuff of one of them. An area moths seem to favour for the laying of their eggs.

Talking about creatures that fly . . . Sitting under a tree on a terrace yesterday, I got a message from above. I moved but still got a second one. Annoying. But lucky, say some.

To amuse . . . Different times:-

For new readers: If you’ve landed here looking for info on Galicia or Pontevedra, try here. If you’re passing through Pontevedra on the Camino, you’ll find a guide to the city there.


Explainer: What will be the effects of Spain’s new Democratic Memory Law?: The olive Press

Earlier this month, the Socialist Party-led central government approved a new piece of legislation: the Democratic Memory Law. The legislation passed with 128 votes in favour, 113 votes against and 18 abstentions in the Congress of Deputies, Spain’s lower house of parliament. 

The aim of the law is to address some of the open wounds that remain from the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) and subsequent dictatorship of Francisco Franco. It builds on the Historical Memory Law passed in 2007 by another Socialist Party administration, and which recognised the victims of the conflict and dictatorship.

The central government is planning on designating €13.95 million to the new law in the 2023 budget, but it will have to move fast if it is to get things done. There is little more than a year to go before a new general election in Spain, and the leader in the polls, Alberto Núñez Feijóo of the main opposition Popular Party (PP), has committed to repealing the law should he come to power. What’s more, the remaining victims are now of advanced age. 

Here are some of the main points included in the legislation::

– The Valley of the Fallen. The controversial monument to the Civil War dead figures prominently in the law. The name will be changed to the Valley of Cuelgamuros, in reference to the local area, and no figure related to either Franco’s military coup, the Civil War or the dictatorship will be honoured there. Franco’s body was exhumed from the site in 2019 and the family of the founder of the fascist Falange party, José Antonio Primo de Rivera, this week announced it would move his remains before the government did. The government also wants to turn the monument into a place of remembrance, with an explanation of its history and a tribute to the victims. 

– A DNA database. The law will also seek to further address the many victims from the war and Franco era whose bodies lie in unmarked graves. The plan is for regular digs to seek these remains, and if they are found, the land will be temporarily expropriated by the state. A DNA database of victims from the time will be created. The search for the missing dead will account for 60% of the total budget assignation for the new law, according to figures cited by Spanish daily El País

– Quashing of sentences. Under the legislation, all sentences passed down by Franco-era courts will be quashed. 

– Cancellation of titles, medals and pensions. Any title that was conceded by the Franco regime will be eliminated, while a complete case-by-case review of all of the pensions or other financial rewards that were granted will also be subject to scrutiny. 

– Improved education. The legislation will seek to address the lack of teaching in Spanish schools about the Civil War and the Franco era. This proposal may be complicated, however, given that Spain’s regions are in charge of education and those governed by the PP with far-right Vox will oppose such a move.